Once again I have found legislators with more time and money on their hands than the ability to think a subject through. Did you know that new automobiles painted in black may be no more? I understand why we should protect Mother Earth but who is protecting us from them?
For starters, I was engaged in the color selection process of my '47 Chevy pickup when I heard I might not be able to buy a new black car in a few years. I had never owned a black car. I had seen too many friends spend countless hours cleaning and dusting after they had already cleaned and dusted. That was until I bought my first new shiny black Ford pickup. Unfortunately it's not cleaned as often as it should but nonetheless I am enamored with its sleek appearance.
Back on point-the Great State of California in which I grew up, received an education, raised a family, own a house, and pay taxes, more than any other state, has opted to decide which color of car I should purchase.
Yep, black is out. Actually all of the dark colors are on a hit list for new vehicles in the Gold Rush state beginning in 2012 and mandated by 2016. The goal by 2016 would have all colors meeting a 20 percent reflectivity requirement. Hell, we can't get a handful pf individuals suffering from Frankenstein complex to convert from analog television to digital even though ads have appeared for years. What makes them think something as drastic as "cool paints" is going to happen in a timely fashion?
Where did this clear thinking come from? Assembly Bill 32 (how inappropriate) is California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires my state to reduce Green House Gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (25 percent). Cool paints were identified as an early action approach to reduce GHGs from motor vehicle air conditioners use. Some pocket protector figured out that if we use our cars air conditioner less it will translate into better fuel economy and a reduction in CO2. Ironically there is truth in the equation but it's the methodology that is so mind boggling. The measure is aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and improving fuel economy by keeping vehicles cooler on sunny days and decreasing the amount of time drivers use their air conditioners. Hey, if it happens in California you can rest assured it will filter its way past our states' borders. (Next thing the state will be controlling the thermostat in my house-wait, that's actually in the works.)
Instead of trying to develop a space pen that will write upside down how about making sure the astronauts have plenty of sharpened pencils? My point, simple is often times better. Design simplicity should be key and we should avoid unnecessary complexity. I'm reminded of the car builder who once told me that he made 124 body modifications to his hot rod. As I looked at the car I was tempted, but exhibited restraint, and thought to myself you should have stopped at three!
Instead of legislating unpopular laws why not try available technology? How about exploring more efficient A/C units and solar-powered ventilation fans? As I write it is reported in Japanese newspapers that Toyota (will neither confirm nor deny) has developed solar automotive roof panels for running electric auxiliary items such as small ventilation fans. It will keep interior temps down on hot days so that the air conditioner will not have to struggle when first started. Isn't this a simple and palatable answer to a larger problem? This could be used on cars of all colors-not just black. Surely this is one answer that could keep us from removing the color that ranks number two or three of preferred colors worldwide.
Fact: heat-reflecting automotive paints (dark colors) have not been invented as of this writing. I read a quote by a PPG executive, "The theory when (CARB) started this was you take the pigments used in buildings and put them into car paints. That's a good theory; unfortunately it doesn't quite work that easily. Believe me, we tested it right away. Requirements for color palettes are different, the process is different, and the pigments used are different."
I am particularly fond of the color that has come forth to replace black. According to paint suppliers, "Some darker hues will be available in place of black, but right now they are indentified internally at paint suppliers with names such as "mud-puddle brown" and are truly ugly substitutes for today's rich ebony hues."
Somewhere in all of the states research they have failed to take into account that new automotive paint systems also have to undergo two years of testing. Again, according to PPG, another item government bureaucrats never considered, three-year product lead times. Why should they? Just crank up the ol' public tax meter and squeeze a little harder. And we voted these people into office!
How does all this impact hot rods built, under construction, or to be restored? No one knows for sure but one thing is for sure it will be screwed-up when the decision is handed down.
Henry Ford the man who told us, "You can get a Model T in any color as long as it is black." It should be pointed out that Henry's customers wanted a quality car at an affordable price. Here's what Henry knew, in the day black paint dried faster and didn't slow down the assembly line as would another color, and it was also the most durable paint. Henry delivered a quality car at an affordable price.
I suppose in these troubling times we should remember another of Henry's famous quotes, "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
We are in the midst of one hell of a wind, and if Henry would like to come back and lend a hand I would be the first to welcome him!